Brandon Beachy pitches Braves to sweep of Rockies
DENVER -- With the Atlanta Braves on a tear at the plate, Brandon Beachy had no worries at all about getting some run support.
Buoyed by his hot-hitting teammates and the confidence to go right after the opposition, Beachy pitched effectively into the seventh inning to help the Atlanta Braves beat the Colorado Rockies 7-2 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.
Freddie Freeman hit a three-run homer and Dan Uggla homered, singled and drove in two runs for the Braves, who have gone a major league-best 18-7 since April 10.
"Watching these guys swing the bat for the last three days is pretty reassuring for the pitching staff," Beachy said after the Braves outscored the Rockies 29-19 in sweeping Colorado at Coors Field for the first time since Aug. 22-24, 2003.
"I can't say enough about the way we played defense, too," Beachy added. "I can throw some pitches over the plate when I'm behind in the count and let them take their whacks and if it stays in the yard, they've got a pretty good chance of running it down out there. I just was feeling really good today, getting ahead of guys."
Beachy (3-1) allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five, walked three and retired 14 straight batters during one stretch, helping to drop the Rockies to 3-6 during their nine-game homestand.
"He took advantage of them getting a lead, and he did what we didn't do from a starting pitching standpoint in the first two games of the series," said Rockies manager Jim Tracy, whose team blew leads of six and five runs in their first two losses in the series. "He settled in and he pounded the strike zone and he made pitches and he limited the number of outs that we had left."
After giving up a single to Ramon Hernandez with one out in the second, Beachy did not permit another runner until Troy Tulowitzki singled to start the seventh. An out later, Michael Cuddyer hit an RBI single.
Hernandez singled and Dexter Fowler walked to load the bases and finish Beachy, who was relieved by Cristhian Martinez.
The Rockies added a run on pinch-hitter Tyler Colvin's grounder before Martinez retired Marco Scutaro on a groundout. Martinez didn't allow a run over the final 2 2/3 innings to pick up his first career save.
"Beachy was unbelievable today," Freeman said. "He went out there and threw strikes and let us play defense. He wasn't trying to strike everybody out. He was just trying to throw strikes. He got us to the seventh, got a little tired and Cristhian came in and shut the door."
The Rockies hope to regroup as they head out on an eight-game road trip that begins Monday in San Diego.
"In the grand scheme of things, what was today, game 27 of 162?" Cuddyer said. "So even though it does seem like it's the end of the world right now because we went 3-6 (during their homestand), there's a lot of games left. So, you keep fighting, you keep grinding, you keep playing hard. We're not quitting."
Rockies starter Juan Nicasio (2-1) matched a career high by allowing six runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out five and walked three in dropping to 0-2 with a 7.53 ERA in three starts against the Braves.
Atlanta first got to Nicasio with two outs in the third inning when Michael Bourn and Martin Prado hit successive singles and Freeman followed with his sixth homer of the season, sending a drive into the Rockies' bullpen behind the center field wall.
"Bourn and Prado battled to get hits and gave me an opportunity. I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit and hit it," Freeman said.
The Braves went up 4-0 in the fourth on Tyler Pastornicky's grounder and added two more runs in the sixth.
Freeman led off the sixth with a triple that rolled to the wall in center and scored when Uggla followed with a single. Jason Heyward walked and Juan Francisco hit an RBI single that finished Nicasio.
Adam Ottavino relieved, making his Rockies debut after being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Saturday.
Bourn extended his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Of Freeman's past 28 hits, 14 have gone for extra bases. ... The Rockies head to San Diego to open a three-game set against the Padres on Monday. LHP Drew Pomeranz (0-1) is scheduled to pitch the series opener for the Rockies against Edinson Volquez (0-2). ... The Braves send Tommy Hanson (3-2) against Jeff Samardzija (3-1) in a series opener at Chicago on Monday.
ATL Wins 3-0
- Home Plate Umpire - Brian Runge
- First Base Umpire - Marvin Hudson
- Second Base Umpire - Tim Mcclelland
- Third Base Umpire - Ted Barrett